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THE DRIVERS WHO TOOK ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD



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A bold, thrilling adventure, the Wild Atlantic Way Drive in May 2015 saw Porsche drivers of various backgrounds united to drive the entire west coast of Ireland, all the way from the Northern Headlands right down to the Haven Coast in the south. 

Following their incredible journey, we caught up with four drivers to hear more of their experience along the west coast. 

 
 

JP’s Adventure on the Wild Atlantic Way

Fond of adventure, Jean-Pierre Melon spent twelve years as a fighter pilot for the Belgian Air Force, but met a new challenge on the 2,500km stretch of Irish coastline. “I didn’t know that the west coast of Ireland was so wild!” he laughs. “You leave a village and within two or three kilometres the area is completely transformed. All of a sudden you are in an amazing deserted valley or surrounded by wild, rocky landscapes. The wild nature of it all is just incredible. For me, the views were the biggest souvenir. You’re driving along and – wow – the view opens and it’s a mountain or the sea... these are the pictures I keep in my mind.”
 

Mel and his Porsche explore the Wild Atlantic Way

Heavily active in motorcycle drag racing in his early days, Cork native Mel Nolan broke two world speed records in his day, and still holds the Irish land speed record – 207 miles per hour in 8.55 seconds. During the summer, Mel added another feather to his cap as he completed the full Wild Atlantic Way route. 

“It was a challenge, but a hugely enjoyable one,” he says. “The best part was coming down the areas that I wasn’t familiar with like Donegal and Mayo and seeing the seascapes, turning into the mountains and finding yourself on different terrain. The whole thing was just stunning. Out of the whole touring route, I found Cork and Kerry the best, and I’m not being biased! For anyone interested in experiencing Ireland’s dramatic coastline and spectacular landscapes, it’s definitely worth it but you should take your time and enjoy it. Every corner brings something new and you can’t complain about the surroundings!”
 

A former rally driver takes on the Wild Atlantic Way

Since completing the epic drive, former rally driver Tony O’Brien has fallen in love with the west coast of Ireland all over again. “In all honesty, it was one of the best weeks I’ve had in a long time. The vast amount of different scenery and views from mountains to valleys, the lakes and fjords that lead to the Atlantic ocean, and the days when it was particularly wild and rough…. It’s just magnificent,” he says. “It was even more enjoyable than Route 66 or any of the other big drives that I have done. You have every kind of road and every kind of surface. Drivers like a road that isn’t in a straight line and, boy, there’s not too many of those!”

“A lot of the other drives you do, it’s the same thing over and over”, Tony continues. “This run had great variety. When you take the difference between Donegal, Mayo, going out to Connemara then heading on to Clare then to Kerry and west Cork, you’d think you were in five different countries. And, of course, we got the four seasons of weather in one day!” 

 

Robin And his Porsche on the Wild Atlantic Way

Belfast-based classic car collector Robin Titterington was keen to explore the winding roads of the Wild Atlantic Way. “You look at the route ahead of time and you think, ‘Oh well, it’s a big drive’, but you don’t realise just how big it really is,” he says. “It’s monumental. The roads and the scenery were breathtaking at every turn. Spanish Point keeps sticking out in my mind. The Cliffs of Moher, too. You have a certain image of the west of Ireland and it really lived up to it.”

Connemara was another great spot. It made an immediate impression in a different way, with how the region changes the more you go through it. One of the great things about the Wild Atlantic Way is how it always gives you something new around the corner. You couldn’t compare Malin Head to west Cork, for instance, they’re just so different.”

Fancy following JP, Mel, Robin and Tony’s lead? See their adventure in full here, or try exploring the entire 2,500 km stretch for yourself.

 

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